Barca 1, Inter 0, aka “Genius+grit=we go home”

I am about to say words that I never, ever thought I would say, words that I hope to never have to say again, as a cule and a soci:

I’m glad we lost. Because I didn’t want to win like that.

When Busquets took that dive after the slightest of touches from Motta, and was shown on TV, peeking through his hands to see if the appropriate horror was being registered by the officiating crew, my heart sank and I almost started crying.

The team that I love so much is not supposed to do that. It just isn’t. Last season when we swept all before us, we didn’t just win playing our game. We won doing the right thing, being sportsmen and doing the colors proud. Yes, it’s easy to be graceful when you are kicking everyone’s butts, some might say, but it isn’t. Not at all. When you have your foot on someone’s throat, it’s easy to be a lout, but we weren’t. So it wasn’t just the beauty of our football that seduced the globe, but the pride with which we played it, and the grace that we followed it up with.

But it went from that, to one of the more shameful displays I have seen in a long time, and Valdes squabbling with Mourinho, and us turning the sprinklers on during the Inter celebration. I’m just ashamed right now, and sad and disgusted. It doesn’t mean that I love or support the club any less, but that love and support means calling it like you see it.

This was supposed to be a match for the ages, the remuntada of all time, as we overturned a 3-1 deficit to go through to the Champions League final, to be played on the home pitch of our most hated rival.

But it didn’t work out that way, because our genius got out-geniused. I have always said that when you give a good coach too many chances to beat you, he will get one of them right. Mourinho got two of them right, though certainly our defense was complicit in the first one, when they played like extras in a Keystone Kops comedy, instead of like defenders for the best club in the world.

And Inter played their collective backsides off, and were the superior side over the two legs. The aggregate scoreline says so, their sweat-soaked shirts say so and I say so. Had we played with as much grit, fire and determination, this would be a very different match review that I have to write. So again, congratulations to Inter, and if you would all please pee all over the walls of the Bernabeu locker room, that would warm my heart. Thank you.

Guardiola rolled out with a lineup of Valdes, Alves, The Yaya, Pique, Milito, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Messi, Pedro! and Ibrahimovic. Mourinho rolled out with a lineup that, on paper, looked dangerous but in reality, it played pillow soft, with the intention of doing nothing more than helping time go past. Milito was on the point, and got the occasional long ball, but really the prinicipal intention was to aggressively soak up our possession and pressure. “Let ’em play with the ball. We’ll stop them when it matters.”

But in Mourinho’s putting real attackers out there of the likes of Milito, Eto’o and Sneijder, we had to play a little honest lest we get burned on the counter and concede a killer away goal. And time passed, filled with our minutes and minutes of meaningless possession. Messi unleashed an excellent shot that sparked an even more excellent save from Julio Cesar, and that was it for the real first half scoring chances.

Busquets’ appalling shamefulness had another unfortunate result for us, in that it made Inter resolve to just defend. Let’s pull it back, and just defend. And why shouldn’t they, being down a man? Suddenly, the shame in just fighting like lions just outside your box was gone, because they were morally in the right.

Further, it wasn’t anti-football. Not at all. It was intelligent football that we had no answer for, because our attacking was coming from the center, where the likes of Lucio just parried it away, and we set up to try again. What was missing was the overlaps from the backs, because Alves was having another stinker, and Milito is a fine defender, but he’s never going to set the world on fire as an attacker. So we had no real width, which made us even easier to defend.

Our goal, and the only goal of the match was beautiful, as Pique was the recipient of a killer ball that he controlled, spun and smoked past a helpless Cesar. Was he offside? Yes. Just. But that’s life in the big city, right? Each team had an offside goal allowed so all’s fair in love, war and football, right?

What was heartbreaking about that goal was that mere minutes before, Krkic, who came on for Ibrahimovic, had a free header, straight on, looking at the wide-open space that Cesar was helpless to defend ….

And he pushed it wide. The Kid wet the bed. It was a beautiful play that found him doing everything right, breaking at the exact right time and receiving an exquisite pass from Messi that pillowed right onto his head. And he shanked it. You could almost see Inter breathe a huge sigh of relief, and resolve to close up even tighter. If Krkic scores that goal, we need a single goal with about 10 minutes to get it, on a team that had absolutely no interest in doing anything other than defending. And they were getting tired. Instead, the time that passed between that gimme and Pique’s bit of excellence, meant that there was too little time left for us.

In another excellent play, we rushed the box as we should have been doing right from the outset of the match, playing with the urgency that finally, at the dying of the match, found its way into our legs and minds. A ball was whipped in that was cleared as far as our human wall, The Yaya. The Inter defender whacked that ball with all his might into the upper chest/shoulder area of The Yaya. It caromed off directly into the path of Krkic, who smoked it past Cesar into the top shelf. The announcer shrieked “They did it!” But no.

Everyone heard the whistle for the handball call, and stopped playing. After that, in the 92nd minute, it was all over but the shouting, of which there was plenty.

There are so many questions to ask about this match, such as why our lads didn’t play with any urgency at all until about 10 minutes to go in regulation time, or why Guardiola rolled out with Milito instead of Maxwell, thus sacrificing any attacking force and potential overlaps from the left. Or why he didn’t at least try Henry in a big match instead of Pedro!, who has a knack for scoring the big goal, but wasn’t the player to deal with what Inter was doing. What was needed was someone with a great first touch, to make a run at the defense, or to try to get behind the defense to cross the ball or cut toward the goal. Not having that made the left side even more impotent.

So Messi had his little shadow, who just hovered over his strong side so that our talisman could do anything he wanted, to his weak side. And we were pumping balls in to a static Ibrahimovic, balls that were easily defended by Inter’s stalwart back line, who are also big, in case nobody noticed. Maxwell came in and things immediately got a bit better, but there still weren’t the kinds of overlaps and significant aggression that widen the pitch, and make us so unplayable.

We played right into Inter’s hands. Now we get to watch the Champions League final on television, as we deserve to, judging by our play over the two legs.

And now comes the question of culpability. I didn’t look at the liveblog, didn’t even look at any comments, because I didn’t want to know, but also because the site was down, in the aftermath of the biggest match of the season to date. Our apologies for that. Technology is magical, but sometimes it jams a rusty chainsaw up your bum and fires up the motor. But I can only imagine that that people are saying that Ibrahimovic sucks, we never should have sold Eto’o, blah, blah, blah.

But there’s plenty of culpability to go around. We lost that match in the San Siro, when our defense played like unmitigated dog dung, leaving our keeper awash to ship in three goals. Three goals, none of which should have happened.

–The first found our defense chasing the ball, rather than doing what it was supposed to be doing. Discipline fell apart at the wrong time. So Sneijder was standing there all by himself instead of being marked by Alves, as he should have been. Bang.

–Messi got fouled. So what. Stop whining ahd keep playing. Hard. We didn’t, and Maicon was able to easily get to the goal and fire past Valdes.

–Yes, Milito was offside. So play his butt until you hear the whistle, rather than standing around with your arms up, as lesser clubs do against us.

So we came home down 1-3, with the only real chance being to win 2-0. We didn’t seem to realize that until it was too late, and got outworked.

So sure, go ahead and blame Ibrahimovic, who missed that sitter …. no, wait …. that was Krkic. Blame Ibrahimovic, who put out a lineup that was wrong for the occasion. And I’m sure that it’s someone’s fault that we went to play that exhibition down in whereever the heck it was, on a crappy, slippy pitch that caused Abidal to misstep and injure himself. There’s probably somebody around to blame for that one. And damn you Iniesta, for being so fragile. Ibrahimovic is supposed to carry you around so that you don’t tax your glass-like legs.


We win as a team, and lose as one. The guys played their hearts out for not enough of the match, a match that would have been winnable had we come at it with the right attitude, which was damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead. We did for the first half-hour at The Emirates. Is Arsenal Inter? No, but our game, our speed of play is the same no matter the opponent, and those two things make us the best club in the world. We played tight and scared, scared of Inter, scared of conceding an away goal, and we lost.

So we go home. Justly, say I. They made the most of contact, wasted time and played as slowly as possible? You bet. That’s what a smart club that is down a man does. But it should never have come to that. Tactical hindsight? I leave that for others to natter about. Some say that Guardiola should have started with Krkic and the likes of Jeffren, let them run around like crazy and tire out the Inter defenders, then bring in Ibrahimovic and Pedro! to close the deal. Whatever. We lost.

The fans were awesome. I have not, in a very long time, heard the Camp Nou so full of fire and gusto. It was beautiful to see, and as heart-warming as Busquets’ bit of shame was bile-inducing. Guardiola was suitably classy, but he has always been, throughout everything. I rather imagine that this loss will tear him up, and maybe it should. He made, in my estimation, selection errors. He has to play this match like there’s no tomorrow. The move of putting The Yaya on the back line, then bringing he and Pique up as twin attacking towers from the back was excellent, but why not play a traditional back line, run Keita off the left and put The Yaya alongside Xavi, to raise some hell?

Good question.

Team: 3. You didn’t play as if your Champions League lives depended upon it until it was way too late. That you still almost got it done speaks to the immense talent at our disposal. We had one match for all the marbles. One match. I wanted to see you playing out of your minds, with the urgency of the moment.

Guardiola: 4. You got outgeniused. You made the right substitutions, but not the right initial lineup from my armchair quarterback’s position.

Valdes: incomplete. It seems weird because he played the whole match, but he didn’t have to do anything. Anything at all. Full stop.

Alves: 1. All you had to do was attack a club that wasn’t really going to attack you, and you screwed the pooch time and again. Where are those crosses going? Where? And stay onside. I know you’re a defender, but you should know what offside is.

The Yaya: 8. You played, and you played, and you played, defending and passing and charging and attacking. When Milito charged at you with the ball, you stood him up and stole it as though you’d been playing center back your whole life. Awesome.

Pique: 8. Brilliant match, from attacking to what little defending you had to do, and what a goal.

Milito: 4. What defending you had to do, you did. But we needed an active, attacking left back. Not your fault that your coach made the wrong selection, but you shouldn’t have been out there.

Keita: 5. Very solid early, with good presence in and around their box. But again, you skillset wasn’t what was needed. Your box-to-box style is what makes you so effective, but in a half-pitch match, you don’t have the attacking style and savvy to really hurt someone.

Busquets: 1. Shame on you. And if you’re going to bring shame to the entire club, play out of your mind by way of atonement. I will not judge you on a single match, but I now have almost a full season of performances by which to evaluate you, and what I see doesn’t make me understand why you play in the position that you do. Last season, you were making sharp, incisive passes that augmented what Xavi does, and hurt our opponents. This season, you’re just playing to get fouls called on other players.

Xavi: 6. When you had space you were effective, but you didn’t really have anyone to play to. You are the engine that drives our bus. I want to see more versatility from you. Make runs, drive into the box, dispatching Keita and The Yaya to make passes, do something.

Messi: 6. You fought and fought, and despite the blanket that followed you for most of the match, you still found moments to shine. But we need even more from you. Make runs, drive and dish, get in your teammates faces to make them understand what was happening. This is your team. You aren’t the captain, but it’s your team. Make it happen. You had some very good moments, and I can’t fault you for your overall play. But leadership is as much part of what you need to bring to the table as your skills with the ball.

Pedro!: 4. Nothing against you, but you aren’t ready yet. Maicon was there for the taking, but needed a better player to do it. You don’t get many chances against a defender of that quality, but when you get them, you have to take them.

Ibrahimovic: 3. We brought you to make a difference in precisely this kind of a match. No, you weren’t getting the kind of service that you like, but you have to make positive movements that make yourself available. Your physical presence put you in the box with some excellent possibilities in the first half, but the next move always fell short. Part of it was your teammates, some the stalwart Inter defense. So no, it wasn’t all your fault, but big players rise to big occasions.


Maxwell (for Milito): 4. Finally, some width! Whew! But clearly, you’ve been working on crosses with Alves. We need pace, style and alacrity of movement from our left back. I know you aren’t the starter, but you have been, in effect for the past two months. You needed to be a lot better.

Krkic (for Ibrahimovic): 5. You were very good, but you canNOT miss a sitter like that with your club’s future on the line. I loved your movement, and you put yourself in good spots time after time after time. Inter’s tired defenders didn’t quite know what to do with you. But you have to finish that chance.

Jeffren (for Busquets): 3. Yes, you have pace and good movement. To what end?

So now what? We have the Liga to play for, with Villarreal away this weekend. If we are ever going to drop points in the Liga, this will be the time. The possibility of a trophyless season is real. Will it still have been a successful season? As I have said before, yes in my eyes. We have had to overcome so much this year, and almost did it. But at the end, it was just too much.

The big question right now is Ibrahimovic. Everybody is saying that Inter got the better of that deal, blah, blah, blah. And certainly, Eto’o played his heart out yesterday. But we bought Ibrahimovic to be a Plan B, in an offense that doesn’t have a Plan B. He is a striker who is used to hearing “Go long, Zlatan!” Our offense is not used to saying “Go long, Zlatan,” or anyone else for that matter. So he comes in as the Plan B, but we don’t really know how to work a Plan B. All we have is Plan A.

Mourinho knew this, and let us tika-taka our way just outside the danger zone, as United did two years ago, and defended when we got close enough to vex them. And away we went, then as now.

In the off season, we will have time to learn to work together, our offense and system with Ibrahimovic. It’s always been “He doesn’t fit in, he sucks.” But if you buy a shovel, then wonder why you can’t drive nails with it, whose fault is that? It’s as much the fault of our offense and system as it is Ibrahmovic. We have this institutional arrogance that says “We are the best club in the world, and anybody who comes needs to fit in. If they don’t it’s their fault.” Wrong. The style that we play makes us predictable. We bought maybe the world’s best shovel. Now let’s dig some graves for our opponents.

Recall when I said that part of the reason that keepers seem to have the match of their lives against us is because of the logic of tika-taka? How if you follow the ball, it’s pretty clear where it’s headed, and where the shot is coming from? Imagine being a world-class defender, who is trying to figure out how to play us. So again, it isn’t one person’s fault. There is plenty of culpability to go ’round.

And this doesn’t even take into account the injury difference. With Abidal and Iniesta, it’s a very different match. Recall that we had both of them, but not Messi or Ibrahimovic, for the 2-0 group stage win against Inter. We were brilliant. We didn’t have the same pace and movement this time, but there was also a lot more on the line, and Inter played a very different match.

Now we’re finished with Champions League, and on we go. We have the Liga to shoot for now. Let’s do this.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Tyler
    April 29, 2010

    A sad day for all cules. Heads up though, we have nothing but a positive future ahead of us.

    • Tyler
      April 29, 2010

      I think in the end a lack of depth is what ultimately hurt this squad. And for that matter attacking-actually have a chance at scoring depth was lacking. This also needs to be addressed in the offseason. I read on Sport Xavi left practice with a hurt calf, any more news on that?

      • Lou
        April 29, 2010

        From the official site:

        “But Xavi was missing, due to a minor calf injury. Sergio Busquets, meanwhile, also missed training in order to receive treatment on his left knee.”

  2. barca96
    April 29, 2010

    actually in 2000, also during semi-final against valencia, we were in the same scenario and we lost the tie too. and the barca board or whoever was in charge was unsporting as well as they played music during the matcht which is not allowed.

    why did yaya start at CB?
    i must applaud pique and yaya as they were the 2 players who add urgency to our play. messi and xavi couldn’t do much as there was simply no space to run in to or pass to.
    i dont understand how some people can applaud inter or call mourinho a tactical genius. all he had to do was instruct his players to stay in his own penalty area.

    two things that pissed me off last night, was why didn’t we play like how we usually play. invite the opposition to our half? our players did bring the ball back on a few occassions but inter players didn’t bother so i guess that’s the reason. another one is why didn’t xavi take shots or ibra?

    btw the ball did not touch yaya’s hand!
    and bojan oh bojan, please practice headers. last year in the camp nou against chelsea you screwed us up as well with your terrible header. or at least let it go for messi as he had a better chance and he was calling for it.

    now i wanna talk regarding our player who is supposed to provide us other options, ibra.
    we bought ibra to break down buses but pep doesn’t know how to use him although ibra does suck in heading the ball.
    what i see is that in ibra, we can’t do a plan A nor plan B.
    he is in between.
    he can do a bit of plan A cos of his passing but he is too slow for it.
    he can do plan B but he is scared to head the ball.

    what i would’ve like last season was villa, if not, get someone who is really good at headers, a beast in the drogba mould and add a great aerial threat for “plan B’.
    and for our normal game(plan A), bojan, pedro or messi at cf.
    so with that we have a plan A and B.

    • barca96
      April 29, 2010

      or we could use pique as our plan B from now on :p

      • Karo
        April 29, 2010

        I’ve been saying this: If Pique converted into a center forward earlier, we had this game!

        • April 29, 2010

          I repeat what I say above: If we aren’t going to learn how to play with a player like Ibrahimovic, then we did waste the money. At present, we show little inclination to.

          But you can’t plop him into a system that was designed for a certain type of player, then say he sucks for not being that kind of player. Not without asking how the system has failed him, just as he has failed the system. It goes both ways.

          • Carles P
            April 29, 2010

            I agree with Kxevin. We seem to want Ibra to play Eto’o role. He cannot play that way. He has skills that have not been utilized as of yet. IMO he should be used closer to midfield (moving the CB’s closer to the midfield and opening up space) and allowed to make those amazing passes that we have rarely seen. I think his passing is right up there with Xavi and Iniesta. Almost like a false 9…

            I also notice that Ibra and Messi tend to get in each others way a lot… I think they are both used to charging at the D with the ball. This is prob due to the “new-ness” factor, as they have only been together for almost a season. Hopefully they work that out during the offseason. Ibra needs to let Messi (or Xavi/Iniesta) lead the attack and he needs to charge into the box (QUICKLY) to get to those tap-ins that made Samuel so lethal…

            Just my observation…

  3. Xavi
    April 29, 2010

    Come on Kxevin, lay off Busquets. Did we complain when messi punched the ball into Espanyol’s net, do they complain in Argentina for Maradona’s goal against England. fair play is all well and good but this is a big money professional game and with so much at stake it is very naïve to expect us to play like a team of old-school gentleman. I was glad when Motta got sent off because it increased our chances of going through. Unfortunately we couldn’t produce the miracle.
    however, I do agree with you on Valdés and the sprinklers after the game. During the 90 minutes you play to win, but at the end you should be graceful in losing and last night we didn’t leave a very good impression in this respect.

    • April 29, 2010

      I haven’t been on Busquets. The post below this one was by Isaiah. But I stand by my comments on his actions yesterday. They were detestable and unacceptable. Isaiah thinks we should sell him soonest. I disagree. But Guardiola has to show him that video, smack him upside the head and make him understand that it hurts the club. Do you think he will ever get a call on a major stage again, after that video of him peeking through his hands gets around fully? What if he’s earned it?

      • April 29, 2010

        I’m good with selling Busi, yes, but that’s only because I think that he can’t be taught. Not after he’s gone downhill on these things. Dani Alves has gotten better and I’m okay with that, even if I cringe a little (sometimes inside) when he goes down, just in case he was actually diving.

        I too think we’re above all the shenanigans–Valdes was defending his team and his fans, sure, but that’s beside the point, really–but obviously someone made the decision to turn the sprinklers on and be uncool about the whole thing. But also: don’t taunt other fans as Mourinho did or whoever the sprinkler guy at the Camp Nou is will douse you with water.

        • Sid
          April 29, 2010


          I found the Sprinkler incident harmless and funny.

  4. shingai
    April 29, 2010

    You know, a lot of folks had been calling for Henry instead of Jeffren, Bojan, or Pedro. But, I mean…there’s a reason why he’s ridden the bench a lot this year. Yes, his touch may still be great, but he no longer has the pace (and from the handball incident, I’d go as far as to say the confidence) to stretch someone like Maicon.

    You guys really really needed someone like Iniesta. Then again, maybe Mourinho would have had some gameplan to accommodate.

  5. lovelymofo
    April 29, 2010

    Generally I agree with you, but I don’t think Mourinho out-geniused Pep. I mean, what did Mourinho do that is different from what teams like Chelsea have done before?

    What really hurt us was not having Iniesta and Abidal. I actually think that’s been the difference this year. Last year we had our front three clicking – so even when Iniesta was out, we were bound to win. This year with a new player and the loss of Henry, the team really needed him.

    Also on Ibra – I don’t doubt he’ll do better next year. Not to say that I think he did badly. He scored some pretty important goals for us.

  6. ashu
    April 29, 2010

    What a wonderful wonderful review. Thank you very much, Kxevin. Pleasure to read, and mature. Why no Henry still vexes me, but as you said, plenty of culpability to go around !

  7. Helge
    April 29, 2010

    Wow, that’s a very tough review. A bit too negative… and are you really glad we’re out of the CL? Glad that we don’t get the opportunity of defending the CL crown, in the Bernabeu!?!
    I could almost bet that if Krkic’ goal hadn’t been disallowed, you would be glad that we won. But saying that you’re glad that we’ve lost, in this particular moment… I can’t get it. I would have taken the 2-0 win, whatever we played like! And at least, we played, whereas Inter only destroyed.

    I accept this loss, but I will never be happy with it. And I’m also sure that it’s down to teams like Inter or Chelsea last year if the team doesn’t gel together as they usually do. If you have the physical players, the discipline and the “right” coach for this kind of football, any team in the world will find it VERY hard to beat them and to shine against them. I don’t blame Barça, I think they’ve been giving their all yesterday, but it wasn’t meant to be AND it is a huge difference if you’re up against Arsenal or some mediocre la Liga teams or the best defensive coach of the world with the currently best CB duo and some hard-working destroyers like Cambiasso, Muntari, Zanetti and yesterday even Eto’o…

    It’s time to have faith in the team now, to accept this loss and to go on. Let’s win the league, ffs!

    • Eklavya
      April 29, 2010

      Had that goal been allowed, this site would have been flooded with trolls, people calling us cheats and divers and all. I had hoped for a match without controversy but it didn’t happen. I am also a tiny bit happy we aren’t in final cause I don’t want our team to be labelled as such. If we had won without the Busi incident I would been happy.

      • Kxevin
        April 29, 2010

        No. I would NOT have been happy that we advanced. It was shameful, and tainted the entire match. And as I noted, we had a better chance with them having 11 men, because they wouldn’t have packed it back as early.

        And I think that people get the impression that defending isn’t a tactic. It is, and a valid one. It’s a simple question of perspective.

        • kt
          April 29, 2010

          Can you explain to a tactical ignoramus, why a tactic that we are told is suicidal, ie giving up possession to the opposition (especially one as good as Barca) that is meant to lead to exhaustion and inevitable defeat, didn’t?

      • Karo
        April 29, 2010

        about the Motta red, even though the ref gave him a straight red Motta was already on a yellow so even if that might not be a worth of a red that is definately a second yellow even if Busquets playacted a bit but Motta clearly hits Busi

  8. Nick
    April 29, 2010

    1. Pique wasn’t offside. I watched a post match analysis on a Dutch channel where they had a 3D projection of the episode. Maicon played him on.

    2. The ball hit Toure’s stomach, not his chest. No handball, anyway.

    • Kxevin
      April 29, 2010

      1. The goal was scored. Doesn’t matter. To me, he looked just off.

      2. Chest, stomach, whatever. It didn’t hit his hand, and the goal should have stood. But it didn’t, so we move on.

  9. BA
    April 29, 2010

    Points to Take from this Tie:

    the Zlatan experiment has failed.

    Henry is gone this summer, having truly disgraced himself this season.

    we’re more dependent on Iniesta than we thought.

    our squad is too thin, when we need a goal in the Champions League in the last 20 minutes of a critical game the only assets on the bench we have to turn to are 3 youth team players, none older than 22.

    Busquets needs to be seriously disciplined, not just for this match but for a pattern of cheating, before it gets really out of hand.

      • Kxevin
        April 29, 2010

        The Ibrahimovic experiment hasn’t failed, unless we’re going to have the same institutional arrogance that doesn’t let the system adapt to a player. If that’s the case, then sell him and don’t buy certain types of players.

        Henry is gone this summer, because he’s 32, started the season injured and never got right. It’s the last season of his contract next year, which is the perfect time to sell a player. Could he possibly have disgraced himself in the colors more than Busquets?

        I can’t help thinking this would have been a perfect match for Hleb or Gudjohnsen (yes, I said it). 😀

        • Vj
          April 29, 2010

          Hleb? Hell no! Certainly not with his attitude.. Guddy? Maybe, he had more effect on our game than people give him credit for..

        • Carles P
          April 29, 2010

          I dont think the Zlatan expirement has failed. I think we need him, but I also think we need a speedy FW (someone like Villa, but cheaper; Bojan- if he would man-up and not get pushed around so easily) who can come into games like these and replace Ibra. Why can’t we have both?

  10. Soto
    April 29, 2010

    “We lost that match in the San Siro, when our defense played like unmitigated dog dung, leaving our keeper awash to ship in three goals.”

    This is right on the money, Kevin. Whatever flaws were exhibited yesterday, it was the failures of San Siro that determined this semi-final. I hope the team looks back to the San Siro game in an an effort to learn from our mistakes.

    The Big Picture outlook: repeating a championship season is nearly impossible in almost any sport. So, despite the Copa del Rey and Champions League losses, this has still been a great year filled with great football. And we still have an exciting finish in La Liga to watch. Let’s not all forget that.

    • Miguel
      April 29, 2010

      yep. which is why milito was played as left back & not maxwell. width was sacrificed for stability in defense vs eto’o, sneijder & maicon.

      pandev(a striker) was suppose to be in the line up instead of chivu(a center/leftback) on the left wing of mourinho’s 4-3-3/4-2-1-3. the macedonian goes down in the warm up and mourinho opts to clog the midfield w/another defender instead of doing this: //

      & why not? he was up by two goals. motta get’s sent off and mourinho doesn’t have much to do because he already has chivu on the pitch so they sit back some more.

      why henry or maxwell wasn’t brought in earlier is another question.

      • Johonna
        April 29, 2010

        Thank you! Exactly.

        Inter played the best tactic with the available players. Mourinho wanted to win. He couldn’t do that offensively after Motta was sent off and with the players he had on the bench (Pandev was a big loss). It would have been suicide to play any other way than the way they did. I dont understand why (some) Barcelona fans are so upset that Inter didn’t commit suicide for them. Are other teams not even supposed to try?

        • Vj
          April 29, 2010

          I’m sorry I don’t watch a lot of Inter matches, but is Motta such a creative influence on your side that you cannot attack without him? Bayern must celebrate his absence then..

          • Johonna
            April 29, 2010

            It is not the loss of Motta specifically that stopped Inter attacking – it was the loss of a midfielder. Inter has other players that can be slotted into that position, but when a team goes a man down at Camp Nou the only option is to defend defend defend. It is hard enough to get a positive result against Barcelona with 11, with 10, in Camp Nou, it would have been impossible.

            Mourinho and the team played the only way that had a hope of putting Inter into the finals. Why is that wrong?

  11. Manish
    April 29, 2010

    It’s sad that we are out of the UCL, but for me its fine, we played to the best of our ability on that day. May be the volcano had something to do with it, may be Pep had something to do with it or may be Ibra.. or there are so many reasons..

    But we tried and that’s what matters. Well done Barca, next year we will be stronger fitter and most importantly smarter.

    It’s good learning for Pep, remember he’s a rookie at this level. Next year we will certainly be better. Now go for the league guys.

  12. cliveee
    April 29, 2010

    Feeling injustices for Bojan’s disallowed goal still… It hurts very bad, because of human error that cost us the chance of playing in the Beu. I hate it even more when I see Mourinho celebrated. Because it was really a legit goal.

    by the way, I don’t think Pique was offside, not clearly off at least. Muntari at the far side seemed to have played him onside. The angle of the replay made it hard to see. Plus, Muntari was walking back toward the goal side.

  13. Eklavya
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t think Henry would have helped us too much in this match. He’s good at making runs behind the defenses who play higher up the pitch. We needed someone faster who would play with more urgency, beat his man, run till the line and cross. From what I say, Jeffren played with urgency all right. We didn’t play too much with him, as we should have, instead with Alves.

    Alves sucked the last 30 mins but otherwise he was OK. He set up a good cross for Ibrahimovich who didn’t try to head it and a good one for Pedro who shoot wide. He gets a 3 in my book. A point taken for diving.

  14. April 29, 2010

    My thoughts are more toward the liga now. What happened is irreversable. I am worried about its impact against Villarreal. Either it boost, or it cause a collapse.

    As for Busquets, I am 10 times more critical on him than I was on Henry after that shameful incedent. I do not care about his motive, play fairly! Motta raised his hand, he deserve a foul, bla bla…same excuses that we can create for anyone. That was a shamefull moment for him, and for the club. As if we needed that, last night.

    But I dont agree on the “Get out of our club” yet as Isaiah demanded. Not sure of everyone’s age, but lot of people do worse in that age, we cant just shoot them in the head. Hope it serves him as a lesson, for the future. At least as someone who see some quality in the guy, I support treating his adiction rather than throwing him out of the town.

    • April 29, 2010

      I totally understand your sentiment of not kicking him out of the club and I have said the same before (about Henry, I think) because you do have to let players mature, but my point is merely that he is regressing, that he is worse than he was before.

      If it teaches him something, that’s great and I will be happy he has changed, but unfortunately I don’t see that as happening. If the Ibra Expirement is a failure (it’s not), then the Busi Expriement is an abject debacle.

      But I too am done with this CL business and am moving on to looking at Villarreal on Saturday.

  15. Eklavya
    April 29, 2010

    -Also, I don’t Iniesta would have won us this match. He would have facilitated the task. Taken off some pressure from Xavi, let Messi be more towards the center but in the end it comes down to the mentality. Iniesta was there both times vs Cheslea last year and he was like all the others grounded and had no space.

    -I think Pep had told the players to be patient in this one and to not hurry too much ala Arsenal. But Piqué said during the post match interview that after the Motta red card they were too anxious to score.
    So it goes like this:

    1st 30 mins: too anxious because we don’t want to let in a goal.
    2nd 30 mins: We start to realize that Inter don’t care about offense we because of Motta’s card we become too anxious to score.
    The next 20 mins: We try and try and try to break the wall but it doesn’t happen.
    The next 8 mins: We realize that it’s now or never. We play and faster and after a few chances go through Piqué.
    The last 2 minutes + 4 mins extra time: We feel last year’s Stamfort Bridge’s spirit. We can do it. And eventually we go through Bojan but it’s disallowed.

    -The sprinklers were not cool.

    -We were supposed to “Leave our skins there”. To play the ultimate comeback game but we couldn’t and also somewhere we didn’t. I still think Ibra could have moved his ass more often. We made the right substitution by taking him off.

    -Finally, I liked Piqué a lot but today he has become my favorite Barca player. He plays like a man, drives the team and helps the team whenever needed. Future captain is too obvious. I loved his goal, he OWNED Julio Cesar and the other player. At least I get some thing to be happy of.

    -And last point. I’ll be rooting for a Eto’o goal in the final. Am I right in saying that he would then be the 1st player to score in 3 finals? Otherwise I am going with a 2-1 victory for Bayern who score through Robben and Sneijder.

  16. Eklavya
    April 29, 2010

    You know, it took me a while to understand that the “Genius” in the title of this post mean Mourinho …

  17. boya
    April 29, 2010

    all i want to say is our players didnt seem to have any urgency to get early goals in the game..they just pass n pass n pass the balls with no direction for 80 min..the movement between them also slow..only in the last 10 min we saw the urgency to try to get the goals n the players also move at faster rate..if u guys saw that match again u will see that we finally be able to crack down inter’s defend becoz we play much faster n pass the ball much faster..and 1 more thing, busquets is really embarassing the club..the moment i saw his face behind his hand when he rolling on the pitch, i feel like a knife just slice thru my heart

  18. Ciaran
    April 29, 2010

    Whatever about the diving, that’s one thing, but didn’t that much show everyone how much better a player Yaya is, and always will be, than Busquets.
    Pique is definitely our next captain. Heck, he already acts like it, especially on the big stage.

    This match really highlighted our lack of depth. I know, Iniesta was injured… oh well. We have NO backup.
    Gudjohnsen, Larsson, Giuly & even Hleb would have been better to bring off the bench that Jeffren. And surely we should have a better starter than Pedro. I like the kid, but I still believe that he should be a supersub at most.

    In reality, we have a working squad of about 15 players.
    No backup goalkeeper. No backup rightback. Lots of backup centrebacks but not all of the highest quality. No backup attacking midfielders. No backup wingers.

    Throw around all the names you want, but we need a rightback, 2 attacking midfielders, 2 wingers & probably a keeper that we won’t get.

    • Kxevin
      April 29, 2010

      All excellent points, Ciaran. I mentioned above that Gudjohnsen or Hleb would have been good to bring in. Unfortunate. It’s also a consequence of the crazy prices in the summer transfer market.

      I also think that some canteranos were supposed to be more ready than they are. Where the hell is Assulin? JDS looked like he was going to get more time, then went away as Guardiola shortened his rotation.

      My one quibble with Guardiola, and again I don’t know what I see in practice so maybe I should just shut up, but I just don’t see, based on performances, why Busquets should have so much more playing time than The Yaya this season. Sorry, but I don’t. Do we have another player who can play on the back line, DM and AM? To me, the last two matches have so clearly outlined his value to the side that I can’t see him not starting the rest of the matches this season. I wouldn’t let Busquets near the pitch until he apologizes to the team, the club and the fans. But that’s just me.

      • Miguel
        April 29, 2010

        jds was injured for this game. he’ll probably miss the rest of the season but hopefully not the world cup. i also think there’s a rule that if you play or start more than 3 games for the senior team you have to move up permanently. which he should have, though, i think…hmmm. oh well.

      • cliveee
        April 29, 2010

        I have to say, Busquets’s passing (execution, idea and weight) in the midfield is better than the Yaya. Yaya tends to fumble a little when the pressure is on or have too little time to handle a pass. That’s the only thing i see on the pitch. Also, The Yaya wasn’t so good earlier in the season, was he?

    • cliveee
      April 29, 2010

      Will Hleb be the answer when Iniesta is out? Will he? Won’t he??

  19. April 29, 2010

    I’m tired, and don’t really know what else to say. Nothing I would write would add anything or inspire/intrigue anything further.

    This performance – inspiring. The result – depressing. The aftermath – nauseating.

    I’m not sure if I’m down with selling Sergio because he’s going to be a great player one day, but I do think he should be benched every match for the remainder of the season, allowing YAYA to show Pep why he really is the best DM in the world.

  20. Nick
    April 29, 2010

    What made the Busi theatre look even worse was an episode when Messi got similarly pushed in the face. Leo kept on playing only for the linesman to signal the fault to the main ref. Mind you, no card was shown. Sergio really is pathethic.

  21. Auld Super
    April 29, 2010

    Zlatan must go he is truly shockingly bad, can you believe this guy is the 2nd highest footballer in the world ? He is utterly useless and proves we should have bought David ‘goal machine’ Villa instead. We can only hope Mancini and Man City are stupid enough to take him off our hands.

    Also after seeing our midfield last night without Andres I think we have to strongly consider buying Cesc afterall even though I’ve always been against it. These are not rash decisions but things I have been thinking about for a while now.

    Lets hope Bayern beat Inter and anti football Mourinho.

    • Auld Super
      April 30, 2010

      Just confirmed Villa signed up for next season brilliant news, now how in Gods name will we get rid of Zlatan ?

  22. Pulpo
    April 29, 2010

    I do not know what we should do with ibra, but you have to admit the scouting team failed us big time here- ibra is not an aerial threat and is worse than average at heading. This in effect negates the advantage his height is supposed to bring. His strength is also negated by the fact that he has poor habit of using his arms to shield the ball thus getting called for fouls, referees don’t know how to ref him, and his height means he is easy to unbalance. All this means he is not that effective as a big man, like say drogba, and finds it diffiuclt to use his strength to make space for a shot.

    In conclusion, the big man attributes he is supposed to bring aren’t really there, or that pronounced. What he does bring instead are some small man attributes like creative passing while facing up. He does have a rocket of a shot but doesn’t have the first step to create space for it.

    A season in and we now have a better idea of what his attributes really are. I just can’t help thinking how many more options a genuine big man like drogba could have offered.

    Kxevin- I would like to know how specifically you expect to incorporporate ibras specific and unique skillset

  23. Jim
    April 29, 2010

    True there were a number of factors last night and some poor performances but to say we move on to Villareal as if nothing has happened is a bit lame. FWIW I didn’t think Inter were even close to being the better team in either game but that’s maybe just down to my definition of team. I don’t admire teams who hit on the break or park the bus – which they were doing even when they had 11. They do that because they can’t live with the better team.

    The next bit is probably couched too strongly because of the disappointment still coursing through me but I’m reminded of Einstein who gave the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

    I’m not looking to incense the Ibra supporters here – we all have our own views and its good fun debating but consider what happened last night. That may have been a pivotal moment when Pep replaced. Ibra. What was the reason? He knew we’d end up trying to put crosses in and Ibra has the height. I’m guessing it was the moment he was forced to realise that Ibra doesn’t bring a Plan B of any sort. Not that a long ball game was ever possible against a team parking the bus as there is no space behind them.

    He will fail at Barcelona unless he fits in with our style of play because ours isn’t changing anytime soon with the players we have – nor should it – and I’m not sure he can do that. No he won’t be sold at the end of the season but we will buy a replacement and when Pep has a choice Ibra will be “riding the pine” as you Americans seem to say ( good expression).

    Too bleak an assessment? Maybe, and I’d still rather see him prove me wrong but it has happened too often this season for me. I’m not a great Bojan fan either but I acknowledge his hustle last night and there was no little skill in the way he took his goal. Ibra wouldn’t have made it onto the header and wouldn’t have been close to getting the shot away for the “goal”. My heart actually leaped when i saw Ibra was being taken off for Bojan and I started to believe we had a chance. What a condemnation of his effect on the game. I realised that that’s how I’ve felt on many occasions. i start off thinking it’s good he’s in the side, he’s a great player but end up hoping he’ll be replaced ( usually, in vain, by Henry).

    He is still slow, has too poor a first touch for us, doesn’t run enough, can’t head a ball and makes runs where nobody can pick him out. Xavi managed to pick Pique out almost as soon as he moved up front. Watch Pique continually changing his position as the play switches from side to side and he’s a CB !

    OK. Maybe that’s a bit strong but you get the point.

    Who will lead the line on Saturday – Ibra, Bojan or Henry ?

  24. Cesc Blanc
    April 29, 2010

    the idea behind Milito was to play basically 3-4-3. Inter were supposed to roll out their first game line-up, until Mourinho saw our line-up and changed plans. Basically, with the 3 defenders, it would have allowed Alves to play much higher and care less about defense and push up, because with the 4 players with the first line of defense Inter was supposed to have, they couldn’t have covered all ball playing players from the back and if they did, it would have left a lot of space between lines to exploit(which they did also in the first 20 minutes). The sending off and everything that followed made it obsolete, Maxwell started to warm up after Motta got sent off anyway.

    Busi needs to realize that this stuff might be fun against Madrid, but if you do this stuff against a team like Inter with players with real attitude, you gonna pay.

    Pique and Eto’o were both class acts after the game. Piqué gives us so much.

  25. Miguel
    April 29, 2010

    i’m thinking the best “solution” for this supposed ibrahimovic problem is playing him on the left wing. he’s the left winger we’ve always wanted. big quick dude, great shot, great cross, can take on defenders, would draw defenders out to the wing, & then could cut in & make plays. moving him to the flank would allow a “plan a” striker, or bojan ;^), to lurk behind the defensive line & get those poacher type goals. why ibra and bojan aren’t played together more often is beyond me.

  26. Kxevin
    April 29, 2010

    If our style of play isn’t going to change to work with Ibrahimovic, then we should sell him. Right now. Because we’re only damaging ourselves. Mind you, I think it’s stupid that we can’t work with someone of his ability, but that’s just me.

    To answer another question, we need to take advantage of his movement, ball handling skills and passing abilities. To ask him to stand in the box like King Kong and receive long balls doesn’t employ him best. I think that right now, our system is asking him to be dumb, essentially, and the fans say “He can’t just stand there and head the ball in,” as if that’s all that big strikers are supposed to be able to do.

    Like Messi, Ibrahimovic should be getting the ball in space, with room to move. Those two goals against Arsenal at the Emirates are prototypical Ibrahimovic goals to me. People who say he isn’t quick must not have been watching those goals.

    He is working against two sets of expectations: A) Be Eto’o, dammit! Right now! and B) You’re big, so go do what big guys do. Stand there and bash in headers. He isn’t Peter Crouch. He’s almost like a giant Messi in that he has a great first touch, thrives on movement and needs shooting space to be truly creative.

    Notice how it unsettles the defense when he moves around in the box. He drags defenders around, which also creates space for other attackers. All good things.

    I think that Ibrahimovic is going to be fine. He came injured and not match fit, and has been asked to fit into our system. He hasn’t completely, and has 21 goals. And anybody who thinks that loss is his fault is delusional, in my opinion. It is no more his fault than Messi’s, or Pedro’s, or Xavi’s, or Keita’s, or ANY of our attackers who couldn’t put the ball in the damned net.

    He will learn the speed of play necessary. He has it, but was he really required to use it? Right now he’s going on instincts that were forged in the slower-moving Italian style of play.

    Oh, and he has 21 goals for us. That’s more than Pedro, and people want to build him a shrine.

    • Cesc Blanc
      April 29, 2010

      big problem of his which will also go against him though is that he qualified for the Ewing theory.

    • Carles P
      April 29, 2010

      Agree that Ibra needs to be brought into the midfield more often and we should utilize his passing and vision to set up play. He thrives on touching the ball, and I think it would be beneficial to link him into the play in the buildup, rather than dump him the ball with no space (which we have been doing).

      One glaring issue that was brought to life this year was squad depth… We have no depth (at least not reliable depth). If Pep learns one thing from this year, I hope its the fact that to compete in all fronts we need QUALITY reliable backups for both Xavi and Iniesta. Keita gets it done, but he is too direct. It does not mean we need Cesc, but someone cheaper because he is not going to play lots of minutes until needed (injuries).

      I also hope Pep does a better job of substituting players. There are a number of games where we were up and confortably controlling the game, and Xavi and Iniesta could have been taken out, but played the entire game (this was probably due to squad depth).

  27. Kxevin
    April 29, 2010

    And before I forget, SoccerMom is now part of the family. Look for her first official post very soon. Yay!

    • cliveee
      April 29, 2010

      GREAT NEWS! SoMa rocks us all day all night!

  28. jordi™
    April 29, 2010

    We lost the tie specifically after Milito goal was allowed last week.Pep took off samu in the home semi last year as well btw, but ultimately victory shapes people’s perception.So win = genius, lose = jackass.It really does make me wonder what the cries would have been last year without that inestazo (which we managed to get again with bojan 🙁 ) In some ways it wouldve been better to lose last year and win this year but football is funny like that.The good thing though is we fnally have these ridiculous expectations off of us and we can get back to playing football next year with winning being the desire, not obligation.Besides if we reained everything this year, what else is their to achieve, im glad we now have some more reason to be ambitious.

    -Pique : No words, i saw it against Chelsea, and he did it again.I cant wait to see him with the armband.

    -Feel bad for Bojan, if anyone needs a Pedro moment its him.Hopefully next year he gets more chances to claim them.This could have been the confidence soaring moment to kick his career on.

    -We wont sell ibra, Pep is too stubborn for that.Hes not an idiot either.Like he said he bought him for 5 years.

    – Next year if we get a player like Silva or Villa we will be set.I have to say we need someone to challenge Dani.If thats Dalmau or Bartra fine.But look at what maxwell did for abi’s play.Dani needs to know that when he plays shit his position is under threat.What we need is more competition in all of our positions.Players who wont mind sitting on the bench but who will push the starters.

    • Cesc Blanc
      April 29, 2010

      I don’t think that poor Dani lacks ambition or fire or anything like that. I just think that playing non stop for 2 years has finally paid its due, just like with Xavi. What we would need would be a reliable backup.

      Btw. although he gets the stick, kudos to Pep for throwing in Jeffren and Bojan and not Henry. Sorry, Henry was over, he neither had the ambition nor anything else nor did he show it in any game that he really wants to play, while Jeffren and Bojan gave their all. So kudos to him for relying on the youngsters, even if it didn’t work out.
      If there’s a God somewhere, we won’t finish the season empty handed.

    • Tyler
      April 29, 2010

      I agree. I think we should have a reliable back up for each position in order to last through the rigors of a long season. Does this mean we need a crack in every spot, no. But at least have a guy like Maxwell or Gudjohnsen for those spots. We need to take time and mins off our players legs and we need OPTIONS. The reason Ibra came off was obviously whatever Ibra was doing wasn’t the answer for this game. Does that mean for all games and against all opponents? Obviously no. But I said this before, if we’re going to bring in other players lets bring in people who can actually be threats on the field. This of course creates more a challenge – a larger group of people creates more problems in uniting them into an fully integrated unit.

      Unfortunately you need to look at EE. The only reason they are nipping at our heels is because they have a bucket full of players they can pluck from to use at their disposal. Now, the problem they have is they don’t the confidence or unity we do at the moment. Also they’re f*cking madridistas so that’s going to always be a problem.

      My point is, as I said before: DEPTH. I remember earlier this season either Pep, Tito, or Txiki said, “our season will be determined by the success of our canterano players.” Since we decided to ship everyone else off and not nurture anyone besides really Pedro, we really couldn’t expect them to produce much anything else.

      So i say our steps should be:

      1) Win La Liga and smear it in EE’s face
      2) reinforce a near perfect squad with depth that will help us with the grueling length and punishment that competing in three competitions demands

    • Nick
      April 29, 2010

      Aren’t you surprised to find this on that website? They have taken the wrong reference. It was Muntari (the farthest player on the screenshot) who played Pique, and you can’t see his foot behind another Inter player.

  29. Nick
    April 29, 2010

    Pep definitely won’t let Ibra get sold, just as in the case of Chygri. So a new role is a must. Ibra shouldn’t be the pillar. Whenever he battles for position, calls go against him because refs think he bullies everyone thanks to his size. Even when Lucio tore his shirt apart yesterday, the call went against him.

  30. y2k156
    April 29, 2010

    Well, the loss still hurts but just sports i guess.

    – I thought our team played very well yesterday. We did not go through, though we had the clincher ruled incorrectly and that is ok. This is sports and things sometimes go your way and sometimes do not. Overall, considering the way in which Inter were set up, it was a very difficult task to score and we did manage one, which is more than our last three CL Home ties. In fact we managed two but lets forget about it.

    – Inter have quality through their side. If we have to rate technical ability as footballer, Inter are almost equal or maybe shade lower. They do not have Xavi or Messi but thats about it. So this as a team which was as talented as us and just willing to stay camped in their half. Football pithches are definitely not that big.

    – Mourinho wins but he does it ugly way. If he only wants to win, i do not care. I do not love this game for only the results but also the way in which it is played. For me, he is no genius. After all, he was doing what loads of other managers have done before. Genius is someone who does something different, not something just better than others. I have decided that from now onwards, ignoring him is the best way. He can take hate but it would be interesting to see if how will he take if people start ignoring him.

    – I felt that what hurt us the most was that other teams simply do not fear any one else than Messi in our attack. This allows them to put 2 or 3 players on Messi. Last year, we had three great guys up front. This year, no matter how good Pedro or Ibra have been, our opponents feel secure to allow them to have time on ball. Consider the number of times Pedro got ball against Maicon yesterday. We need some fear factor in front line other than Messi and i do not care if it is someone we have today or some one else.

    – I feel sad about what Busi did. But this is way less than what Inter did. Inter were disgrace with people going down at non-existant contact. I shall not blame our players. As a team, i thought we coped absolutely admirably against the slimy tactics.

    Overall, last two or three years have been magnificant and looking at our team, i feel more is to come. After all, even today we remember Hungary of 54, Brazil of 82, Argentina of 06, Holland of 74 much more fondly than the teams which won the WC in that year. I would rather we play for dreams than cups.

    • Vj
      April 29, 2010

      Holland of 74 yes, but I don’t think Argentina of 06 will be remembered following their negative tactics against Germany in the QF.. I still question Messi’s exclusion that day..

  31. Luna
    April 29, 2010

    Well I am not ashamed or glad we lost, never of course, not with Barça, but I accept this loss. Yes Busquets acted, but hell have we all been present in football for the last, mmm decades? I don’t believe our team is holier than thou, and certainly while it shows class 99% of time, we bemoan them an expression of frustration? Man, I think I would have smacked Mo in the hit of the moment, but it’s how our players compose themselves now that matters to me. The sprinklers, eh, Valdes, heat of the moment, Mourinho–always a showman. Did you all see how Mourinho, during the match, came up to Pep while giving tactics to Ibra and said something to them, which pissed Ibra off? Mo at at the end of the day even when winning spits on the other side.

    People are moaning that we played like crap, yadda yadda…Inter did what they do best. Hell they’ve gone down to 8 men and still manage to maintain status quo, but not against Barça you say? We are not invincible. Like my Dad would say, no team can win all the time, that just wouldn’t be exciting. If he were around he would have been laughing at me yesterday, skulking around like a wet cat who just got tossed in a tub of water.

    We couldn’t break them down. They do have talented players who can expertly poke a ball a way of a player marauding into the box. The crosses being sent in to the box were not effective as Kxevin pointed out–they are big on that Italian side. Too many it may seem our players weren’t trying, were static, but that’s not acknowledging what they were trying to break. Call it antifootall, catenaccio, the black hole, whatever, it was effective. I personally did not like it, but I watch Italian League so I am able to acknowledge how movement and spaces work in this condensed box sitting, bus parking system. It’s not static, at all, players have roles, and Mo works the crap out of players in this aspect.

    All I can say is bravo Barça, se dejaron la piel en la cancha!!

  32. Vj
    April 29, 2010

    You say Inter were the better team, I ask you how? They played last night like a team battling relegation, with 10 players behind the ball.. They didn’t even want to play footie, just lob the ball and clear it not to mention fall down at the slightest touch.. I find that more shameful than Busi’s playacting..

    It shames me more that Motta was ever a part of our team.. He’s a thug, can’t do anything except get carded and then can’t take it if a decision goes against him.. I hope UEFA comes down hard on him, you can’t grab a player like that..

    They turned the sprinklers on while Mourinho was celebrating? Brilliant! Next time you win away, Go to your own crowd and celebrate.. Don’t point your grubby fingers at us..

    I hope we sort out our system with Ibra, it isn’t working.. And please, can we for once have a player lethal at deadball situations? That I think is the easiest way to break a bus.. And don’t get me started on the referee.. If the make a mistake which favours us, it shouldn’t mean that they should make up for it by canceling out legit goals..

    “It would be shameful if we won like that” – I call BS on that one Kxevin, I’ve seen more shameful displays than yesterday like the one against Espanyol at the Montjuic where we celebrated with the Boixos Nois after scoring with a non-existent penalty.. But hey, no one complains when we beat Espanyol eh? Even last years semi triumph over Chelsea was no less shameful if you consider the amount of help we got from the ref in the 2nd leg.. No shame then huh?

    I am definitely proud of the way we played yesterday.. (Except for Busi, you can’t really defend that) We worked our collective asses off and it took and the game really boiled down to an offside goal and the ref chalking off a clear goal to keep us out of the Bernabeu..

    I would have been ashamed if we had ‘parked the bus’ so as to say and stopped playing football to guard a lead.. I would have been ashamed if we had stopped trying.. We didn’t, we went out with our heads held high.. And if there is one thing you need to fear about us, its the backlash – Which I hope is something Villareal will need to be acquainted with.. And I’m sure the translator will be acquainted with the word ‘VENGANZA’ if our paths meet again..


    • Kxevin
      April 29, 2010

      Because a) they won and b) they fought harder than we did in both legs. Simply put, they wanted it more. Last season, was there ever a match in which we could say that? This season, it’s becoming almost rote.

      Your opinion is yours, and mine is mine. I was ashamed, and flat out didn’t want to win like that. A blown call is one thing. What Busquets did was something else altogether. Against Chelsea, the ref blew calls on both sides. Don’t forget about the penalty Henry should have earned in the first leg, and the missed Ballack handball in the box in the second leg.

      We didn’t work our asses off for the whole match, and that’s the problem, particularly when the other team did. If we’d played the whole match, or even the first half as we played those last 10 minutes, my review would be different. And probably written about us going to the final.

      Inter didn’t “park the bus.” Watch again. The tactics were very intelligent in denying space and passing lanes, rather than just standing in the box with arms linked. And their only option was to defend once Motta was sent off. Thank Busquets for that, as well.

      • Colby
        April 29, 2010

        Add Abidal’s red card to that list of course.

      • Miguel
        April 29, 2010

        motta, during the pre-game press conference, sort of brought that call onto himself, really. he was spewing shit about how inter would do everything in their power to help the referees do their job, a.k.a. not fuck shit up, you know, because refs are a bunch of incompetent ninnys. i’d have done the same thing if i were busi. it just so happened that it back fired & solidified, for mourinho, inter’s plan to defend like their champion’s league lives depended on it since their striker/left winger/forward, pandev, hurt himself in the warm up. what would you have done playing @camp nou?

      • Jim
        April 29, 2010

        Valdes – “but he didn’t have to do anything. Anything at all. Full stop.”

        If that’s not parking the bus I’m needing to resit my test. Most of the time after the sending off they had a backline of six in or on the edge of the box with three in front pressing the ball about five yards in front of that.

        I’m not blaming them for that but it doesn’t make them the better team. I’d also dispute the effort point. It’s much easier to destroy than create. Xavi almost had as many passes as the entire Inter team. I’d say our tactics and lineup were to blame for performance. Just because we couldn’t break them down it doesn’t mean we weren’t trying. Because they were destroying you can see the effort. We had to try to play with calm and intelligence.

        I’ve seen very little complacency this season at all. Teams are playing us better and at times we haven’t been able to find the answer.

      • Vj
        April 29, 2010

        If you want to talk about the first leg, lets also talk about the offside goal and the penalty that wasn’t given.. Here too, the ref blew calls on both sides, the Motta red being the case in point..

        a) they won – so if the goal in injury time stood, we’d be the better team, wouldn’t we? Hence how the teams play is based on what decisions the ref hands out to them..

        b) they fought harder over the two legs – Really? After that 40 minute patch in the 2nd leg where we slept, Inter really didn’t manage to do anything, except waste time and fall at the slightest touch..

        I don’t deny that in the last 10 mins we looked as if we were more probable to score.. But that doesn’t mean we did Diddly Squat before that like we did against Chelsea.. Take away that superb dive by Julio Cesar and we’d be singing Remuntada now..

        ‘The tactics were very intelligent in denying space and passing lanes’ – I remember similar tactics by Chelsea last season AND they scored a goal AND they barraged our goal with an array of shots – Inter failed to do that even with Motta present on the field, yet we accuse Chelsea of parking the bus and praise the ‘tactical genius’ of Mourinho.. Hypocrisy anyone?

        • Hilal
          April 29, 2010

          EXACTLY! I am so sick of hearing about what a genious Mourinho is. WHAT-EVER! He did what Chelsea did last year and Utd the year before that. When you play like that with that many world class players the game comes down to dumb luck and refereeing decisions. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesnt. For Inter it went for them not once, not twice, but thrice. Genious my ass… it was luck, plain and simple. IF Bojans goal had stood (as it should have) then we would all be talking about the character and never say die attitude of our team, EXACTLY like last year vs Chelsk. Ironically I thought we deserved to win this game more than the one last year vs Chelsea. We r the ones who got lucky in that one, just like Inter got lucky in this one. That is the CL for you. In fact both teams in the final are only there because of OFFSIDE goals. Bayerns being particularly shocking. Sad for the competition and for the game in general. Either get better refs/linesmen, or use tech to improve decisions – ideally both. To leave it as it is now is mindboggling!

          I still cannot fathom how slowly the linesman in the first leg reacted to the play leading to the Milito goal. Its one thing to make a mistake, or for human error to play a part, but its another thing when the linesman is just not fit or fast enough to keep up with play. I mean FFS, stop hiring overweight 40 year olds and it might help!

          On other day Jose goes home with his tail between his legs and not because he was outplayed or outgenioused but because the fates didnt conspire to help them out.

          • jordi™
            April 29, 2010

            Right its not like he came up with revolutionary tactics.I could have told them to put 10 men behind the ball.I agree we played better than we did against chelsea and but like i said apparently its now a game of absolutes.Win= genius, lose = fool.I dont like to talk about the samu transfer anymore.But the truth is, not a soul would have complained and called us idiots had we lost that match and sold him.But we won(tied!!!)so now the whole campaign was perfect and we shouldnt change a winning team.This year we managed 3 good goals, as opposed to 1 miracle from our only shot on target.Chelsea were unlucky against us last year, but they never had the balll in the net.2 goal decisions have cost us and its worse than penalties because they are not guaranteed to go in.What if bojan’s header had went in and been called back as well??I think we are better than last year, we just have missed out on henry and iniesta.

  33. Colby
    April 29, 2010

    I’d like to here people’s opinions about two changes that I think should be made to the game.

    1. The use of instant replay.
    2. More stringent penalties for diving/acting.

    Disclaimer: I’m not writing this out of bitterness against the referee’s or anything like that, I just want to have an intelligent discussion about it and here some point of views.

    1. It no longer makes sense to me that there is zero usage of instant replay in football. We have the capability to make the game innumerable times more fair and for some reason we choose not to use it. Would it disrupt the flow of the game to have the 4th official watch a 5 second replay to determine whether or not a player is offside, or whether or not a penalty was the correct decision? In the time that it took Inter to take the free kick yesterday, everyone in the world but the referee knew he had missed the call. So why shouldn’t he? That having been said, I would only use it for offside decisions and penalty calls/non calls.

    Also, the champions league this year has made the need for it far too evident. Munich are in the final when they should have been out several rounds ago (against Fiorientia). You could make the argument that the two teams in the final both would not be there if the referee’s had made the correct calls (I agree with that statement.) When we think of the millions of dollars riding on each game, it’s unfair not to have instant replay. (Bayern have made themselves somewhere in the region of 25-40 million euros based on a terrible decision–that’s my guess at least) If a judge had DNA evidence in a lawsuit with millions 50 million dollars on the line, chose not to use it, and then made the wrong decision, wouldn’t that be a huge, HUGE scandal?

    2. Someone needs to crack down on diving and play acting. If FIFA/UEFA wanted to clean they game up, they could do it in a heart-beat. They should start with Busquets. Suspend him for 2 games without pay (and if Uefa doesn’t, why shouldn’t Barca?). If you started suspending people, diving would disappear quickly. There is no reason that it should be aloud to continue; it’s a disgrace to the game (it should be pointed out, that if instant replay was used, Busquets wouldn’t feel the need to do what he did because justice would be done regardless of his antics).

    I also agree that Busquets should at least make a formal apology to the footballing world before he plays again.

    • Tyler
      April 29, 2010

      i totally agree on 1) any one who says it would “disrupt the flow of the game” is ridiculous. How long did the red card to Motta and the scuffle that ensued disrupt the flow of the game? Or how many minutes did Cesar waste (and rightfully so) by taking eeeextra long goal kicks? You’re telling me we can’t spend 90 seconds or even less for crucial decisions to be correct? Tennis is probably the best example of how to use it correctly and the NFL does a pretty good job too. I think it would have to be used sparingly and of course the rules would have to be finite as so it wasn’t abused, but to totally disregard it is just ignorant and is an insult to the ‘modern’ game. Yes, referees are human, and human error should be part of the game, but there’s no reason if we can add technology to the game balls, uniforms, cleats, and fields that we can’t add technology to the refereeing system.

      2) diving and play acting doesn’t bother me as much as it appears to bother everyone else on the blog. to me it’s like stealing signs or putting too much pine tar on the bat. bending the rules of the game without breaking them.

    • Cloin (vicsoc8)
      April 29, 2010

      I don’t care about the rest of the footballing world, Busquets should make a formal apology to the Barcelona fans.

  34. Colby
    April 29, 2010

    While I’m at it and watching the Liverpool-Athletico game, here are three more changes.

    1. The away goals rule should not apply in extra-time. It makes absolutely no sense to put one team at a disadvantage like that after the last 180 minutes have proven that they are evenly matched.

    2. Yellow card accumulation limits should be eased. I understand the reason for the rule, but why does it seem like every year, every team is missing 1-2 crucial players because of crappy yellow cards they got months ago. Don’t we want the best players to be available for the CL final to decide who is the best? With the current rule, it is almost guaranteed that by the time of the final both teams in it will be missing players.

    3. Having more professional referees seems logical at this point. FIFA has the money. UEFA have the money. They are both filthy rich. If we are not going to have instant replay, why not have refs that know what they are doing and are in shape to keep up with play(ahem…Milito’s goal…ahem). I can count the number of referee’s that I trust on one hand. I’m not sure about the number of professional referees that we are out there, I know England has provisions for them, so pardon me if I’m an idiot and didn’t realize that most refs are pros. But from what i understand it’s couple-time-a-month job. To use a prior analogy, that’s like saying “we are going to bring in a judge who practices law once every couple years to decide who will win this law suit over millions and millions of dollars.”

  35. Helge
    April 29, 2010

    Atleti, Atleti, Atleti!!!

    Sorry, I just needed something to cheer for, and despite their horror performances against Real and outstanding ones against us, I still have some sympathy for them 🙂

  36. April 29, 2010

    I do appreciate and respect Inter’s grit, but I still believe that we are all falling all too easily to the Mourinho Genius myth.

    Mourinho will have a hard time coaching at teams that build their own culture around tradition, history, fan base, and team because he builds his teams around his huge ego. It is Mourinho’s team and not Inter or Chealsea or …

    We keep forgetting that we actually WON yesterday’s match and completely dominated. Inter were “forced” to play defense… there was no planning or genius about it. We created that and they get credit for REACTING well.

    The two games with Inter highlighted my beloved teams’ blindside… Pep had his warning in the Derby game against Espanyol. Our blind side is our own egotistical idealism. Playing a derby and busing our team to Mouriho’s temple of fanatics, we should have parked our own bus in front of VV instead of playing an open game. We should have been more pragmatic/conservative and less idealist. The lessons here are not just for the team and coach, but also for all of us involved in this team. Sometime in order to win you have to dare to be ugly, and we have to support that.

    The ibra trade was forced on Mourinho, he did not want it. It worked well for him, there was some luck in that. I give him credit for Lucio and Sneider, but I still see him more of a reactionary coach. He deserves credit certainley, but Genius … my a#$! My hats off to Inter but we all should be ashamed of expecting perfection from our players and playing to the British Media tunes of worshiping a guy so out of touch of reality that keeps insulting and demeaning others and when he gets a slap on his face he cries victim… To me Mourinho is the Busquets of coaching. (wow that was good , I think I should publish it 🙂

    • Vj
      April 29, 2010

      Mourinho the Busquets of coaching – Priceless!

      Oh how I wish FloFlo loosens his purse strings again and installs him as their new manager.. Victories against them would be that much sweeter!

        • y2k156
          April 30, 2010

          This is exactly put: Mou is Busu of coaching. Some skills and hell lot of showmanship that is sick.

  37. jnelson
    April 29, 2010

    Let’s all remember Kevin and Isaiah’s cautions before the season. It is a World Cup year (Qualifier and Friendly fatigue and injuries), 6 trophies to play/retain. More matches in less time (WC year). Possible injuries (We were fortunate last year). And, of course, everyone wanting to beat the best. Oh and a minor switch from Eto’o to Ibra (Ibra came injured and missed the preseason). ALL of this, Kevin and Isaiah warned would keep us from repeating the greatest season of ALL TIME.

    Overall, I’m not blaming anyone for this year. I hope we keep Busi and give him more time. YAYA’s passes have sucked lately; maybe that is why Busi has had an advantage. Anyway, the only one who should go is Henry (Who would have thought he would be crap. Add that to the list above). Chygwimpy deserves more time as well. So does Krkic. They all have talent and potential, even Busi. Motivation is something we have lacked this year at times. Understandable. Pep is still a great manager. It is too early to judge him based on signings yet. Both Ibra and Chygwimpy missed the preseason. Remember, Ibra has scored some goals this year. 20?

    Although this is early, some things that must be done in the offseason:

    Learn how to break parked buses
    Add a LW (WE NEED WIDTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    Add a CM (Preferably one who can shoot, even if it comprises passing)
    Sell Henry

    I love Barca. What we need is some continuity. And support.

  38. Cloin (vicsoc8)
    April 29, 2010

    To start I’m going to try to change my name to Cloin.

    I’m not angry about Busquets’ actions. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that he wears our colors and is associated with the team. I’m also ashamed that I got caught up in the heat of the moment and was hoping that this would be the turning point that would allow us to progress. Should we sell him? I don’t know. Guardiola is a class act and if anyone can get Busquets under control it is our classy coach. If he continues to embarrass us and the colors though, I don’t see what else we can do.

    With that said, in hindsight I think Busquets shameful acting was what cost us the game. We looked much more dangerous in the first half before Motta was sent off. The sending off forced Inter to play their super-defensive game, and I think if Motta had stayed on the pitch it would have been more open and we would have scored in the first half. In my mind, Busquets not only acted shamefully, but lost the tie for us as well.

    I don’t think Pep’s initial lineup was bad, or wrong. Playing three centerbacks, two of whom had the ability and license to roam forward, with Alves marauding up the flank was a good idea as it was obvious that Inter would play defensively. This lineup gave us the most attacking power and flexibility while also ensuring we would be able to resist their inevitable counter attacks and not concede. The problem came, again, with Motta’s sending off because we didn’t have the width required to deal with the Great Wall of Inter. Pep made the right substitution – Maxwell for Milito, but it needed to be made immediately after Motta was sent off.

    • cliveee
      April 29, 2010

      why change the name? no more VV (visca vicsoc) then? 🙂

      • Cloin (vicsoc8)
        April 29, 2010

        Can’t really verbalize why, but vicsoc8 is a very old moniker (8 years or so) – it stands for “victor soccer 8” (victor was my local team). It’s time for a change.

        Plus Cloin, among other things, reminds me of a dwarf name from Lord of the Rings. Awesome

        • Eklavya
          April 30, 2010

          Boo! Visca Viscoc8 > Cloin IMO !!! 🙂

          • Cloin (vicsoc8)
            April 30, 2010

            I’m having trouble getting used to it myself. We’ll see if it sticks.

  39. jnelson
    April 29, 2010

    I was thinking, to break buses, what about playing Ibra, Messi, and Xavi all in front of the wall, with Keita, Busquets, Pedro, Alves/Maxwell (rotating) even with it. Ibra could be the deep lying player, and Xavi could just tee it up for him for what is basically a free kick, except shorter than ours were (because they used professional fouls well). Messi, Xavi, and Ibra are our best playmakers and even passers. Messi and Xavi could lob through balls over the wall, or Messi could shoot if he had a chance. For the last 1/4 of the game, we could have had Pique and Yaya crash the wall. I know it’s too late, but for future reference. I mean, we would have a passing triangle of Messi-Ibra-Xavi shooting basically freekicks, sending low through balls, and lobbing passes over the wall. THAT would be awesome. I mean, you could have the players code the timing of the lob passes like baseball signals if thats what it took. Like, 2 secs after Xavi touches the ball. BAM. What do you think?

    Xavi – Messi


    • Dave
      April 30, 2010

      And what about a swift counter attack?

  40. Nick
    April 29, 2010

    Can a keeper get booked twice for time wasting? That was the question that kept on popping up in my head during the match after Julio Cesar got booked early on and continued to drag it along. So, is it possible?

  41. Cloin (vicsoc8)
    April 29, 2010

    There’s been a lot of Ibra hate here and other places all season. I think he’s a good player, but I’ve just had this feeling I can’t shake that something about the whole situation is wrong. I think I figured it out:

    I thought Ibra was brought to break buses, but he isn’t the type of player who can break buses.

    Before I’m called a hater, he’s a great player, and has had a good first season with 21 goals. It’s hard to expect more than that from a striker in his first season with the club. This includes crucial goals in el clasico, and three in away legs in Europe. But think about the goals he has scored, have any of the been against well organized, disciplined defensive teams? His three goals against Madrid and Arsenal were all from him beating the offside trap. His goal against Stuttgart was a ball pinging around in the box he buried. Great goals, but not bus breakers.

    One way to break the bus is to cross the ball into the box and win headers. Despite his height, Ibra has very few header goals this season. You can say he hasn’t had good service (which would be true yesterday) but if you look at his highlight reels and his history, he has never been an especially strong header of the ball. Watching us play balls to him as he was static yesterday, it was obvious that it wasn’t working, and that having him hold the ball up isn’t a good plan B against a bus.

    Pep’s plan B yesterday was old usual plan A, quick, tricky players interchanging and making dangerous runs around the box. And it was dangerous.

    I think Ibra and the team are adjusting fairly well, I just think we all expect Ibra to be our magical bus-breaker, and I don’t think he has the right qualities to be that player for us.

  42. cliveee
    April 29, 2010

    Ibrahimovic was better early in the season. It beats me when his performance level dropped after the year mark. I just don’t know why.

    In preseason, I remember seeing comments here about the little chemistry was going on between him and Messi. But it stopped when 2010 came. His movement was excellent, passing was accurate, loaded with confidence and scored a goal each game. He still is. His ball-holding and distribution, gigantic body that gains him good positions are just amazing.

    Base on what Kxevin suggested, if we don’t change our style at all and demand Ibrahimovic to fit us, then I think Ibrahimovic needs to be more like Eto’o. I am not trying to spark another Eto’o-Ibra debate, but comparison of what they can or cannot do is the only way to better understanding the difference the two players made to our team.

    What Eto’o was good at, I should say extremely good at, was that he understands Tiki-Taka really well, he could pass the ball like everyone else. But at the same time he also know when he should break away from the passing game and SPRINT to a position that the ball would naturally go to, such as, the area around penalty spot, or somewhere near the goal, or he would just locate himself to a place where a passing lane could be seen by the passer of the ball. When Ibra has a bad game, that is when he was being very static, floating around the box like King Kong and wait for perfect crosses that seldom/never comes. He scored some goals, right? TWENTY-ONE goals in all competitions, right? Some of them came off from the aforementioned movement Eto’o was so good at. Bojan is making them as well, such as the header he badly missed, that’s the type of movement I am talking about. The recent resultant goal from that kind of movement Ibra scored was against Arsenal.

    Eto’o does not have Ibrahimovic’s foot skill, but Eto’o has a stronger desire to be selfish sometimes and make it possible for himself to shoot. Ibra with the skill to pass beautiful ball, AND ALSO trying to fit our system in his VERY FIRST year, is not showing the same desire. That’s why he would draw back to the midfield to play the ball, make passes, distribute and hold space.


    IF we wanna fit Ibra, I think we will have to improve our crosses. Alves to me is not up to his standard this year. I never saw any beautiful crosses to the middle that goes Ibra’s way, or any way. Alves’ is not good at crossing in my opinion. The type of ball he crosses is very much like shooting. It does not have that floating slowness in it. The speed and spin are often too much. Even the cross he made for Ibra to score the winner in El Clasic is a really speedy one. But it worked that time, and what’s more, Ibra finished that one off with his foot, not head.

    For a strike in Ibra’s size, you need to play him a more predictable cross that allows him to judge and move to find that one spot that the ball will fall on. He will do ten times better if we have David Beckham with us. Seriously. And he will score more often with his head. When you recall the crosses David Beckham can make, and you compare that to Alves’ you know the difference.

    • cliveee
      April 29, 2010

      umm, bad choice of word. Not really NEVER, Alves made some decent crosses too, just not resulting a goal. But the number of bad crosses outnumbered the good ones by many.

    • Cloin (vicsoc8)
      April 29, 2010

      Agreed that Alves’ crossing has been awful lately.

      You say Eto’o was better at tiki-taka, and that reminded me of the thing that bothered me about Ibra yesterday. He made some fantastic runs out to the wings and drew defenders out of place – that was great. But a couple times he just took too long to pass the ball on, too long to make a decision, and the opportunity was lost.

      No doubt the adapting process is far from over.

      • Kxevin
        April 29, 2010

        Exactly. It’s why I take issue with proclamations such as “the Ibrahimovic experiment is a failure,” etc, etc. We don’t know yet. There is something missing in our attack this season, even more than a crazy Cameroonian, and that is a true threat off the left wing.

        With Henry out there we had real width, and pace, and constant danger that created more space for everyone on the attack. This season, Pedro! ain’t that player. Nobody has been, really, which has made us easier to play.

        When writing the history of Barca, and the amazing season of the 6 Copes, Henry will go down in it for his willingness to work like a dog to excel at a position that wasn’t his own. Without that excellence this season (age, injuries, coach’s selection), our attack has not been the same, which is why it’s been easier to clog up.

        A priority in the off season has to be to find someone who can be a threat from the left wing, who can pass and score goals. They probably won’t be able to score as many as Henry did last season, but they should be able to take advantage of space that is offered up by defenses who will be keying on Messi and Ibrahimovic.

        • BA
          April 29, 2010

          how DON’T we know yet? it’s been nearly an entire season, and the penultimate game(s) for which Ibrahimovic was bought he failed to do as advertised. not only that, but he clearly slows up our attack and doesn’t add much to our forward pressing; the 2 key components of our unprecedented success last season. Ibra is a remarkable player no doubt, but his purchase was always going to be a massive gamble. a gamble which i would say has failed. i seem to recall you and i both (rightly!) saying that Ibra needed to conform to and compliment our system or be a bust just after his transfer was finalized last summer… but perhaps we should have stuck with not just a winning formula, but the formula for which our entire team and club philosophy is built upon?

          granted Henry’s desertion stings almost as much; at least that makes it an easy decision to jettison him. either way, we’re going to need to buy most of a forward line or modify our system entirely this summer. our beautiful, glorious spine (Pique-Xavi-Iniesta-Messi) is still intact but there are going to be big changes afoot, particularly if Madrid edge us in the league.

          • Kxevin
            April 30, 2010

            Remember when everyone declared Henry a bust after his first season, and wanted him gone? What would have happened had they listened? An integral part of our attack, one that was essential to its success, would have been gone.

            Should Pedro also be gone? He’s had as much time with the first team as a starter. Ibrahimovic has more goals than he does. What about Busquets? Keita hasn’t turned the trick everybody was expecting. Let’s unload him as well.

            Our system has to work with Ibrahimovic just as much as Ibrahimovic has to work with our system. Anyone who doesn’t think so is, in my opinion, misguided.

            Henry didn’t desert the side. He was injured in the away Clasic, and still put it on the line for the club in the CL final, though he wasn’t anything approaching 100 percent. The injury healed slowly, and it took him forever to get back. By the time he got some semblance of fitness, Pedro was the man, and Henry let the club down by being old and injured. Wow.

            I think that fans need patience. Next thing we know, they’ll be looking askance at Messi, who hasn’t scored in 6 matches now? Uh, oh ….

            People need to calm down. As I noted, without a left side attack last season, the same things would have happened. Don’t kid yourself. Balance is key. We don’t have it this year.

          • jordi™
            April 30, 2010

            “Next thing we know, they’ll be looking askance at Messi, who hasn’t scored in 6 matches now? Uh, oh ….”

            lol Its Ibra’s fault for getting in leo’s way, if you ask sport.I think its disgusting what both they and EMD are doing when the season isnt over but its just them living up to my low expectations.

          • Luna
            April 30, 2010

            Why the hell are folks buying the English media drivel. And if Barca board responded to the cries of newspaper editors then we are just another EE, and that will be a sad day

  43. Kxevin
    April 29, 2010

    And for the record, I don’t think that Mourinho is a genius. The aka is as much a witty play on the great Ray Charles album title as anything else.

    I do think that he is an exceptional coach, who understands what you have to do to win football matches. He’s done it with Porto, Chelsea and now Inter. I just hope that Guardiola never does the same, mostly because I don’t want him to leave Barca, even though he will. They all do, because that’s just the nature of the game.

  44. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    Kxevin I appreciate the marvellous work you put in each review, but this time I have to disagree on some things. I guess I look at that “lost” as a fan whereas you are able to look at it from the outside and that is why you are the one who write reviews.

    First: A loss is never a happy occasion.

    second: I don’t agree the team didn’t want it enough reason they didn’t show urgency to get the necessary goals . In my book, they did all they could. I dunno. I wasn’t really expecting us to go through and that we almost did it is something. They played their hearts out despite the wrong line up (Yaya should have been in a position where he can get chances to launch his Yaya shots), No Abidal and Iniesta, Ibra still not getting how to play with the team versa, both Pedro and Keita as nonfactors, and of course Inter. For me, this is the best they could do under the circumstances. I might even say they played more with their hearts than head as Cruyff said last week. So I would give the team 10 on effort and 5 on intelligence . I am proud of them and believe they gave it their all.

    On Busquet I agree completely ditto Isaiah’s previous post. I ask: Giovanni Dos Santos was sold for lack of attitude or too much attitude, same for Eto’o and R10 (though probably time’s up for Dinho in Barca) so if Pep’s fair, Busi should be sold too. His attitude has gotten worse compared to last season, not better. I dunno if he is bad for the dressing room, but the whole world now certainly know and saw how disgraceful and how big a cheater he was. Isn’t that bad for the club and the team too? and him getting automatic playing time at the expense of Yaya though not as technical as Busquet is doing everything he can to stay in Barca, including learning Catala.

    • Kxevin
      April 30, 2010

      I didn’t say that a loss is a happy occasion, but that I was glad we lost. There’s a difference. I’m a fan, and the fan in me was disgusted by Busquets and his actions. It tainted everything in my opinion. Others disagree. That’s why we discuss it.

      I WAS expecting us to go through. That’s the fan in me. I always believe that we can do it, and did right up until Krkic’s goal was ruled off, even as the fair play part of me said “Good.”

      Busquets has talent. But he has to play football and stop acting like a child who falls down, looks to see if his parents are watching, then starts crying. It hurts the club in so many ways. But he will never be sold. He’s a canterano and a legacy. We will sell The Yaya before Busquets. I think it’s crazy too, but there it is.

      • Cloin (vicsoc8)
        April 30, 2010

        Busquets is a liability right now in my eyes. Not only does he do ridiculous things like he did yesterday, but his playing to always get the foul destroys any sense of rhythm we can have on offense.

        Be honest, how many times recently have we strung 4 or 5 paces together, and just when we’re getting into a rhythm Busquets gets the ball and holds it until he gets fouled? Or you see him slide in and make an excellent interception, but instead of starting a quick counterattack he plays around and looks to get fouled? Happens all the time, and it kills opportunities and the team’s rhythm.

        Whether you are willing to accept his shameful antics is one thing, but when they hurt the team, something needs to be done.

  45. iBlau
    April 30, 2010

    I don’t know if this has been posted yet but El Mundo Deportivo has the video of what Mourinho said to Pep & Ibra

    Mientras Guardiola daba instrucciones en la banda a Ibrahimovic, el entrenador luso exclamó que, en circunstancias normales, el Barça no ganaría la Liga de Campeones

    And Marca is reporting that we have a verbal agreement with Valencia for David Villa. Apparently, we will give/loan them Hleb & loan Bojan as well.


    Silly season anyone? 😀

    • Helge
      April 30, 2010

      loan Bojan to Valencia –> maybe, but I’m not a big fan of it
      sell him to Valencia –> Are you ******* serious??? NEVER!!!

  46. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    haha Hleb still will have to learn spanish then? If true, I’d rather we loan out Keirrison than Bojan. Silly season yay!

  47. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    That Atleti sure know how to play smart. Sacrifice the league for the possibility of 2 trophies.

  48. Eklavya
    April 30, 2010

    There are more and more rumors that we have reached an agreement with Valencia on Villa. We are supposed to have an agreement on Ribery, Aguero and god know who else but I’m getting the feeling that this one *might* be true …

  49. Eklavya
    April 30, 2010

    Yay for Atleti! They are in the final!

  50. Eklavya
    April 30, 2010

    If anyone finds a good picture of the Camp Nou when they held up all those color papers, please post it here. Currently, I can only find the one on the official site…

  51. skyislm
    April 30, 2010

    It took me this much time to recover. 🙁

    And from the displays, I think the team is psychologically tired of too much achievement and then too much pressure to retain the fame of last year! They are lacking hunger. and I think this will appetize them a bit!

    Even without a plan B we have reached this far, which is great, but it also did hurt at the right moment! At least now our think tank will start working on it, I hope!

  52. Kxevin
    April 30, 2010

    So today, I’m rocking the MES long-sleeve training top (yes, rare as a roc’s egg), and a Barca-come-lately asks me, “How can you wear that after how they played Wednesday?”

    I said, “I still love my club and am proud of what it has accomplished, and what it will accomplish. You don’t need silver for me to be proud.”

    As if being eliminated from CL would make me love Barca any less.

    • BA
      April 30, 2010

      i wore my 08/09 Iniesta shirt yesterday in what i considered an eloquent protest.

  53. Auld Super
    April 30, 2010

    Villa (goal machine) signed up for next season according to Marca(madrid mouthpiece) brilliant news.

    • Tyler
      April 30, 2010

      But apparently we are giving them Bojan and Hleb? I highly doubt this.

      • Auld Super
        April 30, 2010

        I’d rather give them Ibra and Hleb and Henry too if they want him.

    • Cloin (vicsoc8)
      April 30, 2010

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was true. I can see Bojan going to Valencia for a season on loan, although I can’t decide if I think it’s a good idea or not.

      If Valencia was smart at all they’d try to snag some of our up and coming defenders – Botia, Fontas, or even Henrique. Lord knows they could use some good defenders.

  54. Kxevin
    April 30, 2010

    Here’s the thing about the preponderance of Villa rumors. When one source reports it, all the rest pick it up. Volume of sightings doesn’t make it any more true.

    Valencia are in serious debt, and have to sell off some valuable resources, and cut costs. Their most valued players are Mata, Villa and Silva. We are rumored to be moving for Mata by some other sources, dependent upon who you believe.

    I don’t really have time for silly season, when we haven’t even finished with the real season yet. Villa would be good, not at 40m+Krkic and Hleb. No way. But Guardiola understands how much we are missing by not having a real threat on the wing. No, Jeffren or Pedro! ain’t it.

    The good thing is that we will know sooner rather than later, because with elections coming up in mid-June, we have to take care of family business early.

    –The way that people are treating Ibrahimovic is shameful. Absolutely shameful. Sport is no better than AS or Marca. Just because it’s Barca makes it no less detestable.

  55. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    Where’s Villa going to play, lw?

    I read somewhere that several la liga teams want Botia.

    • Tyler
      April 30, 2010

      Villa would probably play LW and rotate all up front with ibra and messi. I like that idea. I also would really like Mata to come on over since there’s no way in hell they would give us Silva too.

      Criticism of Ibra is ridiculous at this point, and to some extent the Busquets criticism is getting out of hand (imagine he had scored the winning goal, think about what people would be saying). I think next year Ibra will have a monster year as long as the squad continues to work together and utilize his assets.

    • April 30, 2010

      Can Villa play on left wing? I always see him in the middle. I think he will crowd Messi… not sure I like this idea. I much prefer we get Silva to help out Xavi and Ineasta.

      • Tyler
        April 30, 2010

        he definitely could. this video shows he mainly hangs out on the left corner of the box and makes great runs in: *

        also, I think we would need minimal time getting used to playing our style of football, because of his excellent performances with Spain, where he plays with these really good midfielders….. i think their names are Xavi and Iniesta or something like that ; )

        • April 30, 2010

          Thanks Tyler… I saw the video and was impressed mostly by his ability to score, shoot, and dribble in both legs which I dont see Ibra doing much. I also saw him play from the left side, but most of the video he seems to be coming from up the middle….

    • Museum
      April 30, 2010

      What about Ibra at LW? Wouldn’t that be worth a try? His passing skills would be put to better use, he could make more runs at defenders, etc. Just a thought.

  56. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    Agreed Kxevin. Disrespecting Ibra also means they are disrespecting Pep. What I don’t get is, some are acting as if having Eto’o on our side in the games against Inter = we go to the final, as if Eto’o has ever scored for us in a cl semi before. and its not that we lack goals, but we let them score against us putting us in a position to score more than we usually do in a semi. The last 5 years, we’ve gone to the cl semi 4 times and before Ibra came we only managed 2 goals, 1-0 vs Milan 2006 and Iniesta’s last year. If we defended better in the first leg…

    Bus parking isn’t new. Milan 06, Liverpool 07, MU 08, Chels, this year Inter all used cause it’s what work best against us and they know Barca has no plan B. At least now Pep is trying to find ways around it.

  57. Cloin (vicsoc8)
    April 30, 2010

    The squad for the Villareal game has been released, Abidal wasn’t included, but Thiago Alcantara has been.

    • Helge
      April 30, 2010

      T_T what’s wrong with Abidal… he was supposed to be fit for Inter, already trained with the team, and now he’s not included again? 🙁

      • Kxevin
        April 30, 2010

        Still having groin discomfort. At this point, might as well get him fully healthy. We will need him against Sevilla, but that’s about it.

  58. Nick
    April 30, 2010

    For Eklavya:


  59. Jim
    April 30, 2010

    Villa would suit me and Valencia must be looking to get players in on loan rather than paying upfront so I’m thinking this might be right. If Bojan is only going on loan I don’t think that’s too bad and we’ll see what he does with regular playing time in a decent side. Hleb I don’t care about.

    Villa given his age (28 same as Ibra) isn’t a long term replacement so this is maybe just a shot across Ibra’s bows in that Pep is still hoping he provides the goods.

    Still wonder if this solves our LW problem though. We also need another attacking option in midfield. If we can’t afford to buy I’d like to see Maxwell attacking a defence and looking for one twos and shooting more. He’s left footed, technically pretty good with some tricks but plays too careful a game.

    • Jim
      April 30, 2010

      Meant to add – agree with Kxevin. the 40 million is a bit steep with 2 players on loan as well.

  60. fcbfan
    April 30, 2010

    Yay Thiago! I have high hopes for him.

    Poor Abidal.

  61. Kxevin
    April 30, 2010

    Villa would be perfect on the left wing, and wouldn’t take as long to integrate there as Henry. That’s kind of what he does a lot already. I just don’t like the cost, if this crazy rumor is true. I just can’t see us cutting bait on Krkic.

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